Constitutional Carry may soon be coming to North Carolina. Long ridiculed by outsiders as the “Massachusetts of Dixie” because of our restrictive (by Southern standards) gun control laws, North Carolina is poised to take its place among the leaders in gun rights reform. Sources, which I can’t divulge, have made it clear that Constitutional Carry is on the radar. We can expect to see some concrete movement in the New Year.
While the Federal elections were disappointing for gun owners, North Carolina, coming off a historic Republican led redistricting plan, has turned the entire State government over to the Republican party for the first time ever. The 2010 elections gave control of both houses of the NC General Assembly to the Republicans who used the opportunity to reverse 100 years of Democrat drawn legislative districts. Couple that with a deeply unpopular Democrat Governor, so unpopular she chose not to run, and the 2012 elections have given us a new Republican Governor, and veto proof majorities in both houses of the NCGA.
Since gun rights reforms were traditionally blocked here in North Carolina by city dwelling Democrat legislators who occupied NCGA leadership positions, this means that the only truly anti-gun politicians left in North Carolina are no longer in a position to stop us. And with a Republican Governor, it’s now open season on some of our dumber gun laws.
Constitutional Carry (or Vermont Carry, if you prefer) would mean that it would no longer be a requirement for lawful residents to take training classes, pay outrageous sums of money, and beg permission from the Sheriff before exercising their right to carry a concealed weapon. Note that I said “weapon,” not “handgun.” Constitutional Carry would eliminate the entire “concealed weapon” law, 14-269. It would still be illegal for convicted felons to carry a firearm, but regular lawful residents would no longer have to apply for a permit to carry.
Still to be revealed is whether North Carolina will retain some sort of “tiered” concealed carry system. Will there be locations where a person who has a Concealed Handgun Permit will be able to carry, but a lawful non-permit holder will not? For example, will CHP holders be allowed to carry on school property while non-permit holders will not? Or will CHP holders have the exact same time, place, and manner restrictions that non-permit holders have? In this case, we would be adopting a system like in Alaska, where people only get CHPs so that when they travel to other states they can take advantage of reciprocity rules and carry there as well.
We’ve got a long way to go here in North Carolina, but getting Constitutional Carry would certainly ease the burden on lawful residents. I think it’s wrong to demand that people pay well over $150 for permits and training before they are granted permission to exercise their rights.